All managers want to get the most out of their teams, but the problem is many go about it the wrong way. Managers often look at employees — both the ones working hard and the ones slacking off — as individuals and then make corrections based on those attributes.
Yet, rarely do they judge and communicate to employees their valuable role within the company.
To do this, you need neither a radar to monitor web activity, idle time and VPN sessions, nor arbitrary utilization reports whose only purpose is to ensure people are doing something. You need to make the connection between what the company needs and what each team member needs.
Do right by everyone around you in your work life and start understanding how everyone’s interests are in fact aligned, albeit through several degrees of separation.
The irony here is that in order to make these correlations, like a radar, you absolutely need to monitor, track and record activity.
What are the true efforts behind every component of every project? How much time do you spend maintaining when you should be innovating? Quantitatively, what are your problem areas and what are your successful ones? Track and tag every sales opportunity, every support request and every bit of work to fulfill them.
Take this data and identify the key trends that keep you leaner, meaner, and more powerful, week after week, month after month. Understanding how much planned versus unplanned work you do means more accurate expectations for future projects, and less weekend work.
Understanding who is more efficient in specific roles leads to optimized resource allocation and less headaches. Understanding the true cost of efforts means more accurately scoped future projects (and less binge drinking).
That, my friends, is continuous improvement, sans guesswork.
This, in turn, kicks off a cycle where the benefits extend throughout the organization. Communicate this cycle and the organization will champion it. Your CFO will understand the true cost of goods sold. Product strategy teams will understand what to charge for your product. Resource allocation will be devoted to the more successful efforts and less successful ones will be discontinued. Enter the effects of more money in the bank on profit sharing, bonuses and fringe benefits and it all comes back to your team in the end.
So, forget your radar, and start communicating up, down and across the organization why you and your team need to do what you need to do in the first place. Cultivate a model of continuous improvement by first understanding, and then evangelizing, why your team needs to be better and how you and your team need to be better.
This all starts with taking the time to track what you’re doing, and after going through a life cycle of several degrees, it ends with happier people all around.